Tag Archives: PML(N)

Prime Minister 2.0: Harder, faster, stronger

By Syed Rashid Munir

In just a couple of weeks, thousands of Pakistani youth will sit through one of the most rigorous tests of human memory, in the form of the annual Central Superior Services (CSS) examination. In the exam, they will be asked questions ranging from the absurd to the most absurd, and you can almost be sure that the name of the brother-in-law of the sister of one of the cousins of the premier of a small African republic will be on the paper.

But, sometimes, through sheer luck, you can be tested on a relatively easier topic, for instance say, the name of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Under normal circumstances, this would be an absolute freebie of a point; the ‘aspirants’ would only have to recall the results of the last election, promptly mark Mr Nawaz Sharif’s name on the question paper, and then start daydreaming about sticking it to others while sitting in big offices.

This time though, such a query is bound to be a loaded question. Let me explain why.

In a parliamentary system like ours, the prime minister is usually appointed by the political party in majority in the representative assembly. Tradition dictates that the leader of the majority party be bestowed with this honour (though there have been significant diversions from this norm even in recent years).

The prime minister is supposed to lead his cabinet and the country through thick and thin, and ooze a shimmering aura of national unity, so much so that the hearts of the masses are supposed to fill with a warm glow each time they look at their leader.

The premier is supposed to be approachable, so that his/her constituents can share their problems and concerns.

The premier should also have an unblemished reputation of being not only uncorrupt, but also incorruptible. He/she must understand the nuances of the issues and cultures within the territory of the country, and present a clarity of vision in taking initiative towards national reform.

All this is fine and dandy. But now, let us take a small dose of reality.

Continue reading Prime Minister 2.0: Harder, faster, stronger

‘Threats to democracy’: PPP won’t let anyone impose agenda by force, says Asif Zardari

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson and former president Asif Ali Zardari has said his party will not permit anyone to impose any ‘peculiar political or ideological agenda’ through brute force or under the pretext of religion or democracy.
“We reiterate that all power belongs to the people and they alone are empowered to bring about political change through ballot,” he said in a statement issued to media on Saturday at the occasion of the party’s 47th foundation day, which will be held on today (Sunday).

“While the threat of imposition of direct dictatorship may appear to have receded, we are not unmindful of the other forms of threats to democracy that rear their ugly heads from time to time.

Zardari said his party is also conscious of threats to democracy in the name of democracy itself and is determined to foil them.

“While the threat of imposition of direct dictatorship may appear to have receded, we are not unmindful of the other forms of threats to democracy that rear their ugly heads from time to time. The PPP is aware of such threats and is ready to fight against them,” he said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/799496/threats-to-democracy-ppp-wont-let-anyone-impose-agenda-by-force-says-asif-zardari/

 

Shah urges army to take notice of ‘exploiters’

PESHAWAR: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah has said that Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif must take notice of those exploiting the name of army for political purposes, ARY News reported Wednesday.

Talking to media here, Shah said it was said numerous times that army will take over, however it remained neutral.

Confronting with parliament means fighting with people, said Shah.He said COAS would certainly fight any one challenging the mandate of public against the parliament and judiciary.

Read more » ARY News
– See more at: http://arynews.tv/en/shah-urges-army-to-take-notice-of-exploiters/#sthash.M4ghQr1e.dpuf

 

Pakistan’s Federal minister for Planning & Development, Ahsan Iqbal’s son Ahmed Iqbal’s remarks against Pak Army

“The responsibility of all terrorist attacks falls squarely on the armed forces & intelligence agencies. People of Pakistan have made enough sacrifices. It is time that that these institutions start doing their job of protecting Pakistan & not themselves. There would no war, no Taliban, no external threat if they would have done their job. It is high time to not only hit back at terrorists but to secure Pakistan’s future by dealing with this menace. Spend on education, health, development, people & …. the army!”  “Warna, yeh Taliban Ko Paalnay Waali, India Ko Ukssanay waali, Jamhoriat Ko Lapaytnay waali Fauj apnay bojh talay Is Mulk Ko Kuchal day gi.” ~ Ahmed Iqbal Chaudhary

Read more » http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=244363

More details »» Roznama Dunya
http://e.dunya.com.pk/colum.php?date=2014-06-16&edition=LHR&id=31946_74196307

Pakistan: Raza Rabbani warns of serious consequences if system derailed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and Senator Raza Rabbani has warned of serious consequences if the current system is derailed.

Expressing his concerns in the Senate Monday, Senator Raza Rabbani said this time the federation is facing threats and not the constitution.

He said that media is a watchdog and that it is not acceptable to put curbs on any news channel. The days are gone when media was restricted, he added.

He said that the time has come for the democratic forces to find reasons as to why the situation is being deteriorated.

Addressing the Senate, Senator Saeed Ghani said that the nation is being misled by bring people on the streets. He questioned as to why the matter of Geo’s morning show is not resolved yet even after the channel’s apology.

He further said that he can not support curbs on media channels over the wish of one political party.

Read more » Media Cell PPP
http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/raza-rabbani-warns-of-serious-consequences-if-system-derailed/

After owning the deadly bomb blast in Quetta, Taliban (TTP) welcomes Nawaz Sharif’s call for peace talks

TTP welcomes Nawaz’s call for peace talks

By Zahir Shah Sherazi

PESHAWAR: Nawaz Sharif’s call for peace talks made to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was welcomed by the proscribed militant organisation on Thursday.

Talking to Dawn.com from an undisclosed area, TTP spokespersons Ehsanullah Ehsan said that the offer for peace talks made by Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif was a positive sign and that the militant organisation was devising a strategy over the course of action to be taken in response to the peace talk offers.

Moreover Ehsan also claimed that the banned oganisation was responsible for the bomb attack in Quetta today and said that the attack was carried out in retaliation to the killing in Balochistan of their activists from Malakand region.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013236/ttp-welcomes-nawazs-call-for-peace-talks

via – Twitter

Three Reasons Not to Talk to the Pakistani Taliban

By Michael Kugelman

In recent days, the PML-N and PTI have announced their readiness to talk to the TTP.

What a shame.

In effect, these two parties — one soon to govern Pakistan, the other to govern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa — are saying they’re willing to hunker down with monsters who shoot schoolgirls at point-blank range, gun down health workers in Pakistan’s sickest regions, and brandish severed heads, by the hair and with gusto, as the cameras roll.

It’s actually not the idea of talking to savages that I find objectionable. After all, history is rife with examples of governments negotiating with sadistic forces. In some cases—think the Irish Republican Army and Colombia’s FARC rebels—these efforts have actually been quite successful, and resulted in peaceful outcomes.

What bothers me (as an outsider, admittedly) is the fact that talking to the Pakistani Taliban simply doesn’t make sense, and for three simple reasons.

First, the TTP has repeatedly reneged on previous peace deals. In 2009, following several years’ worth of alleged agreements with the state, the TTP did not lay down itsarms. Instead it lay claim to Swat—and instituted a reign of terror. If another olive branch is officially extended to KP-based Taliban forces, expect an emboldened TTP to regroup before establishingnew areas of violently enforced authority that ban girls from going to school and stifle free expression — including the social media that helped fuel the PTI’s rise. This scenario would not only be gloomy, but alsoironic—given that the PTI’s message of change has targeted, in part, educated, tech-savvy urbanites, including many women.

Second, the TTP wants to demolish Pakistan’s political system; it often articulates its fervent desire to destroy “anti-Islamic” democracy.While much has been made of the TTP’s campaign of election-related violence against Pakistan’s secular political parties, spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan has also insinuated that all participants in the democratic system are fair game — including, presumably, the PTI and PML-N. “We are not expecting any good from the other parties either, who are supporters of the same system, but why they are not targeted is our own prerogative to decide,” he explained ominously to Dawn.com several weeks back.

The third reason why it makes little sense to talk to the TTP is that the government doesn’t operate from a position of strength. Experts often say it’s best to negotiate when your interlocutor is on the defensive. The TTP, however, is very much on the offensive. Its highly organised, and wholly uncontested, assault on political parties this election season came on the heels of a relentless rash of attacks in KP that had analysts speaking of the “potential loss” of Peshawar to the TTP. By agreeing to talk now, you’re effectively surrendering — or at the very least, acknowledging your fundamental vulnerability.

Stop being hypocritical, you might say. The US government supports dialogue with the Afghan Taliban, so why lambast Pakistan’s willingness to talk to the TTP?

This may sound like a reasonable rebuttal — but it’s not. Some members of the Afghan Taliban, unlike those of the TTP, have expressed a willingness to participate in a future democratic Afghan government (already, in fact,some Afghan government officials are former Taliban fighters). The Afghan Taliban appears open to operating within the existing political system, and not necessarily intent on obliterating it. It also has no legacy of reneging on peace agreements (though to be fair, it’s never concluded one).

Continue reading Three Reasons Not to Talk to the Pakistani Taliban

Nawaz promises to stand together with West in taking on terror

The next prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has promised to stand together with the West in taking on the forces of terrorism, hours after voting finished in the country’s historic general election.

During a close-fought campaign Nawaz Sharif had promised to end drone strikes and review the country’s relationship with America. As he publicly claimed victory in the poll, the two-time prime minister sought to reassure Western governments and said he would not pull back on the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

“I have experience of working with US counterparts and will be very happy to further work with them,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

“What is most important is that we must never allow our soil to be used by anyone to create problems with any country in this world.”

Continue reading Nawaz promises to stand together with West in taking on terror

PPP downfall: Aitzaz Ahsan resigns from Senate

LAHORE: Senior Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan announced his resignation from the Senate, reported Express News on Tuesday.

After announcing his resignation from the senate, Aitzaz Ahsan said that the resignation should be accepted and the rest of the decisions were in the hands of the party.

Aitzaz Ahsan’s wife, Bushra Aitzaz contested and lost elections from the NA-124 constituency against Rohale Asghar, a candidate from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

According to Aitzaz Ahsan, voting results were bizarre as some polling stations had recorded a 150% voter turnout.

Results given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should be reviewed, he added.

Wattoo resigns

Similarly Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, president of PPP’s central Punjab chapter submitted a letter of resignation to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, accepting failure in delivering his duties.

In the letter addressed to Bilawal, Wattoo listed the problems of water and electricity scarcity, economic instability and media trials as the reasons for defeat.

Other PPP resignations

Sherry Rehman also resigned from her post as the Ambassador the US in a letter to the caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Tuesday.

Continue reading PPP downfall: Aitzaz Ahsan resigns from Senate

Nawaz says would invite Indian PM Singh to oath-taking

LAHORE: Nawaz Sharif on Monday said his government would establish friendly ties with India, adding that he would invite Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his oath-taking ceremony to Islamabad.

Speaking to foreign correspondents at his Raiwind residence, Sharif called upon Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf to respect the mandate of the people and accept the results of the elections.

He further said that his government would devise a national policy to tackle the problem of terrorism. Referring to the attack on PML-N leader Sanaullah Zehri in Balochistan, Sharif said it was not fair to say that terrorism had not affected PML-N.

Continue reading Nawaz says would invite Indian PM Singh to oath-taking

Pakistan’s Sharif calls for warmer ties with India

By Michael Georgy

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Nawaz Sharif, seen as the front-runner in Pakistan’s election race, said he would not allow militant groups to attack India from his country and would work to improve ties with rival New Delhi if elected.

If I become the prime minister I will make sure that the Pakistani soil is not used for any such designs against India,” Sharif told CNN-IBN in an interview.

Despite recent strains, India and Pakistan’s relations have improved after nose-diving in 2008 when gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in a three-day rampage that India blamed on a Pakistani militant group.

According to opinion polls, Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) is expected to win Saturday’s general election after capitalizing on the failure of the outgoing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to tackle everything from power cuts to a Taliban insurgency.

Continue reading Pakistan’s Sharif calls for warmer ties with India

Ominous signs

By I.A Rehman

THE day after tomorrow the people of Pakistan are likely to learn once again, among other things, the futility of efforts to establish a democratic order without efficient, democratic party apparatuses.

The party that is to suffer the most for lacking an effective party machine is the PPP. Its capacity to avoid learning from past debacles, that were caused or at least accentuated by the non-availability of dedicated party workers, is truly phenomenal. It used to discount the role of an organised party structure by describing itself as a movement. It can no longer claim that title because no charismatic leader is visible to whom the masses can swear allegiance.

In fact, fully evident are the disastrous consequences of destroying party activists by allotting them sinecures in government or allowing them the privilege of chaperoning ministers or being photographed with them. That is why bets are being offered on the size of its losses instead of the chances of its success.

Even the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), that is currently riding high on a wave of popularity, may rue its lack of seasoned party workers in sufficient numbers. The young men and women who have just joined the party are no doubt full of enthusiasm but they need time to establish their credentials within their communities.

The party looks set to make a handsome haul of seats on polling day but its tally could be bigger if the space between the leader and the voters had a larger and more distinguished and active population.

Among the parties that are expected to do better than before the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) attracts attention. Its workers are constantly in touch with the electorate thanks to its strong following among prayer leaders at mosques and madressah teachers and controllers. However, the party may face some difficulty as a result of its cadres’ change of roles from khuddam-ud-din to armed extremists, and the streak of arrogance the party leader’s fatwa business betrays.

The party that can do with a narrow cadre base is, of course, the PML-N, because it represents the interests of the class that has been wallowing in riches since the days when Ziaul Haq boosted Punjab’s economy with huge financial transfers.

Moreover, the party can attract travellers from one platform to another because it offers security from militants as well as the privilege of closeness to the custodians of Nazariya-i-Pakistan and certified patriots. Still, it has reason to be wary of the challenge from the PTI.

Far more important than the fate of political parties in the election is the question as to what lies ahead for the country and its luckless people. Chances are that whoever the winners on Saturday may be democracy is unlikely to be amongst them After making allowances for the challenges electoral arithmetic presents, one may say that the provinces look set to go their different ways. It might be difficult to deny the PML-N a majority in the Punjab Assembly but elsewhere we may see strange experiments in coalition-making.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa we may have a coalition between the PPP, the JUI-F and the Awami National Party or a JUI-F–PML-N coalition, assuming that the PTI remains true to its decision against joining any alliance. Balochistan may have a choice between an alliance of the JUI-F, the PML-N and the Balochistan National Party-Mengal or one between the JUI-F, the PML-N and the Pakhthunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).

The latter arrangement, or any other combination that leaves the Baloch nationalists or the PkMAP or both out, will be born with a hole in its heart. Sindh’s future will depend on the extent of the damage the PML-N and the 10-party alliance in Sindh can cause to the PPP and the harm the PML-N and religious parties can do to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in urban Sindh. If the losses to the two parties are bearable, a PPP-MQM coalition may come on top. If the PML-N and the 10-party alliance finally get a majority, stability may elude Sindh for quite some time.

As regards the centre, democratic opinion will be satisfied if any party gets a majority of the seats or comes close to that mark. One does not know whether the establishment will let the front-running PML-N have that honour and to what extent Imran Khan will be able to realise his dream of making a clean sweep, but in any case the state is likely to tilt further towards a theocratic dispensation.

This will be due partly to the outgoing government’s failure to sustain the people’s trust in a left-of-centre platform and partly to a campaign by some judicial authorities and the babus of the Election Commission of Pakistan to foster religiosity.

The implications of this shift are going to cause serious problems, at least in the short run. The pressure for making up with the militant extremists, on their terms, will increase and they will increase their pressure for helping the Taliban regain control of Afghanistan, for delaying the process of normalisation with India, and for moving further away from the US. The zealots in the legislature, the judiciary and the media will be emboldened to pursue Zia’s agenda to establish a religious oligarchy.

Continue reading Ominous signs

Pakistan Elections 2013: The view from afar

by Omar Ali

If all goes well, Pakistanis will go to the polls on May 11th to elect a new national assembly and all 4 provincial assemblies.  The Pakistan People’s Party was the largest party in the outgoing parliament and under the guidance of President Asif Ali Zardari, successfully held together a disparate coalition regime in the face of multiple challenges to complete its 5 year term of office. Unfortunately, that huge achievement is almost their only major achievement in office. While things were not as absolutely abysmal as portrayed by Pakistan’s anti-PPP middle class (rural areas, for example, are better off economically than they have ever been), they are pretty awful.  Chronic electricity shortages (inherited from Musharraf’s Potemkin regime, but still not fixed), galloping inflation, widespread corruption and endless terrorism have tried the patience of even the most devoted PPP supporters and make it difficult for the PPP to run on their record. There are a few bright spots (including a relatively well run welfare scheme called the Benazir income support program) and with Zardari deploying his coalition building magic, it is not a good idea to completely rule them out.  Still, they are clearly not the favorites in the coming elections. The middle class excitement (especially in Punjab and KP) is all about Imran Khan, while more serious pundits seem to be betting on Nawaz Sharif and his PMLN. Being out of the country, I have little direct knowledge of what retail politics looks like on the ground; but there is such a thing as a long-distance view and I am going to take that view and try and make some predictions. We will know in 3 weeks how out of touch I really am.

If you do want to look up what is happening on the ground in detail there are several excellent sources available, for example:  Saba Imtiaz’s election watch, the Dawn newspaper’s election page (including an interesting motor cycle diary from Tahir Mehdi as he motors across Pakistan), an election page from journalist and public intellectual Raza Rumiand last but not the least, the wonderful young team at fiverupees.com, who don’t have a lot of coverage yet, but do have writers who prefer carefully checked facts and data to mere opinion.

Explosion rocks Pakistan’s Karachi; 37 dead, over 60 injured

By Manzoor Shaikh

At least 37 people were killed in two explosions in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi on Sunday. Eye witnesses and medics say over 60 people have been injured, many of them are in critical condition.

The explosions took place near a mosque in Abbas Town on Karachi’s Abul Hassan Isphahani Road in the evening.

The locality is inhibited by Shiite Muslims and is located on Pakistan’s one of major highways –Super Highway, connecting Karachi’s port with rest of the country.

The area is flanked by Sohrab Goth, yet another locality inhibited by ethnic Afghans, of them most are Afghan refugees who have made Karachi their permanent home and are one of major players in Pakistan’s sectarian tensions. They are now considered to be illegal immigrants in the city by locals.

Pakistan’s apex court has recently ruled to take action against the illegal immigrants but to no anvil as the civilian government is said to be impotent to take action on the issues that Pakistan’s strong military establishment believes are connected to the country’s national security.

The military is adamant not to take action against the outfits it made and trained to play games in the region especially in Indian- held J&K and Afghanistan.

Now, the military is in war against its local Taliban in north of the country believably on the pressure of the US. Hundreds of soldiers have lost their lives but it still stands far from taking a final action against such groups.

Most of the political parties including the religious political parties of the country support opening talks with the Pakistani Taliban and some are in alliance with them especially in Pakistan’s largest province of Punjab.

Pakistan’s most popular party at the moment—the PML – N—is in electoral alliance with the extremist militant groups which it released huge funds to establish religious seminaries in the province.

Pakistan’s ruling coalition believed to be secular is marred by its bad governance and most of its leaders are facing allegations of taking kickbacks and commissions. It has succeeded to complete its tenure in power through dirty political games. It is facing credibility crisis in its home province of Sindh where its opponents have announced to forge a huge alliance to challenge its support in the upcoming elections due this year.

Continue reading Explosion rocks Pakistan’s Karachi; 37 dead, over 60 injured

Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?

By: Shaheen Sehbai

Zardari will have to make his decision very quickly on whether he wants to exit with dignity or become a martyr. The days, as they say, are in fact numbered.

ISLAMABAD: The crumbling presidential edifice in the bunkered palace with two green flags on the Constitution Avenue is giving rise to numerous stories, some fiction, some wishful thinking, and some partly true.

The man inside the house is reported by some to be collapsing while others say he is in a defiant mood and will fight till the last. One thing is clear though that a psywar is going on and President Asif Ali Zardari has not many friends who have unflinching faith and commitment to defend him.

The key role is being played by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and it is hard to figure out on whose side he really stands. His own political future is also at stake but his role has assumed the all critical importance because everyone is looking up to him, the civil and military establishment has put its power eggs in his basket as against the president, while his party remains confused and divided. The opposition and most of his coalition partners have abandoned the president but continue to back his handpicked prime minister.

The few who are still standing with Zardari include the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, whose latest brag that there would be no ‘minus-1’ but that if anything happened it would be a ‘minus-342’ (reference to total strength of the National Assembly) is considered by many as the final defeatist declaration that Zardari will not go alone but will take the entire house with him. There are not many takers for Taseer’s threats. On the contrary, the party which President Zardari considered to be his most dependable ally, the MQM of Altaf Hussain, has gone many steps forward to seek his removal from the top office. Almost everyone I met and talked to was surprised at the leap Altaf Hussain had taken from just opposing or abstaining from voting on the NRO to demanding the resignation of Zardari. It was like the last straw on the heavily loaded camel’s back and Zardari was stunned, those around him reported.

His attempt to save the sinking ship by calling Governor of Sindh Ishratul Ebad to Islamabad and then authorising Interior Minister Rehman Malik to fly to Dubai for urgent talks with an MQM delegation from London could be the last desperate effort but as someone who knows the scene reported, “The MQM has closed the doors and has gone to sleep,” meaning that it is no longer interested in seeing Zardari sitting in the Presidency.

Nice words wrapped in high sounding moral logic are being said by MQM to urge Zardari to make his exit dignified but Altaf Hussain is not backtracking from his demand of a resignation. He probably knows more than many in Islamabad. Even when Governor Ebad was rushing to Dubai on Wednesday night after meeting the president, the MQM made it a point to include the resignation issue in the agenda of the Dubai talks expected to begin on Friday.

Continue reading Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?

Imran Khan, PTI leaders Alliance with Tahirul Qadri

PTI leaders, Tahirul Qadri hold talks over reconstitution of ECP

By Ema Anis

LAHORE: Top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) met Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in Lahore on Wednesday to discuss their reservations over the current Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

PTI president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi told the media that the reservations were only discussed during the meeting, but the final decision will be taken by his party regarding the petition being filed in the Supreme Court by Qadri for the reconstitution of the election commission.

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a transparent ECP is crucial for the upcoming elections, “but the government claims that it cannot dissolve the election commission as it is against Article 209”. ….

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/503384/pti-leaders-tahirul-qadri-hold-talks-over-reconstitution-of-ecp/

Qadri, the Brass, and the Judges Take on the Government

By: Aqil Shah

As the uproar in Pakistan this week shows, meddling in politics is a specialty of both the country’s judiciary and its military. There is a silver lining though. Pakistan’s two major parties — long enemies — have worked together this time to fend off the threat.

This month, Pakistan’s government is fending off a needless political crisis. On 14 January, Allama Tahir ul Qadri, a pro-military cleric turned revolutionary who once claimed to have a direct line to the Prophet Mohammad, marched into the capital with tens of thousands of supporters. He has since threatened to use whatever means necessary to implement his demands, which include the removal of the “corrupt” Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government, the disbandment of the current parliament, and the implementation of constitutional clauses that lay down strict financial, religious, and moral qualifications for election to parliament. The move follows on an unusual media blitz last month, during which Qadri took to the streets and airwaves to save the state by demanding the creation of a clean technocratic government backed by the army and the judiciary.

The timing couldn’t be worse. In 2013, Pakistan is expected to undertake its first transition of power from one elected civilian government that has completed its tenure to another. When the current government came to office in 2008, reaching that milestone had seemed unimaginably difficult. All of Pakistan’s previous transitions to democracy had been cut short by military takeovers. As the date for the handover neared, many Pakistanis had started to hope to avoid that scenario this time. As it turns out, though, even cautious optimism might have been too much. It appears that Pakistan’s powerful military, aided by an aggressive Supreme Court, might well have just put a spanner in the works.

Continue reading Qadri, the Brass, and the Judges Take on the Government

Qadri has returned to subvert electoral process: Nawaz

PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.
PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.

LAHORE: Referring to Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief Tahirul Qadri, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has said that the “Sheikhul Islam” had come to Pakistan to subvert the electoral process and create anarchy in the country. Talking to media after meeting with the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief, Talal Akbar Bugti, on Thursday, the former prime minister said that the threat to hold a long march by Dr Qadri just ten weeks before the general elections appeared to be a conspiracy to create hurdles in the election process. “The Canadian national (Qadri) wants to derail democracy, which will not be allowed. A few people cannot hold hostage the entire nation,” he said. Nawaz said that the long march would create chaos in the country, which had already been hit by severe challenges.

Continue reading Qadri has returned to subvert electoral process: Nawaz

A Peaceful Islamic Revolution in Pakistan?

By: Malik Siraj Akbar, Editor in Chief, ‘The Baloch Hal’

A Pakistani Muslim scholar with Canadian nationality has announced to transform Islamabad into “the world’s biggest Tahrir Square” on January 14th ahead of this year’s upcoming general elections. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a cogent public speaker, has made an abrupt but a robust comeback in Pakistan’s politics after spending nearly five years in Canada. Qadri, previously an unpopular politician but still a cleric with a large following of religious disciples, is asking for electoral reforms prior to the next polls.

There are two fundamental problems with Qadri’s demand.

First, he has given an absolutely unrealistic ultimatum of mere two weeks to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (P.P.P.) to carry out vague electoral reforms, for example to ensure the election of ‘honest people’ to the parliament. In order to conduct these reforms, Dr. Qadri, while citing the Article 254 of the Pakistani constitution, justifies the postponement of the general elections which are expected to take place in May. The mainstream political parties, such as the P.P.P. and the Pakistan Muslim League of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, want to go for elections without any interruptions soon after the completion of the current term of the parliament because they oppose any kind of derailment of the democratic process.

Second, Dr. Qadri is asking for representation for the powerful Pakistani military and the politically active judiciary in the interim government, a demand that clearly clashes with the very spirit of democracy.

Continue reading A Peaceful Islamic Revolution in Pakistan?

Tahirul Qadri, the Bhutto boy, and the establishment’s last play

by Adnan Khalid Rasool

Based on the political events of the last 10 days, one of the most commonly asked questions in Pakistan is:

‘What is going on?’

As in what is going with the whole Qadri parade, what is up with Bilawal’s launch, and generally what on earth is going on in Pakistan?

Simply put, there are two sides going up against each other and all of these events, or whatever you want to call them, are just parts of that.

Who are these sides and what are they after?

One side to all this is the establishment.

For the last five years, the establishment has played one hand after another against a democratically elected government but failed, as for once, the largest opposition parties refused to play along with them. So a year ago, they launched their own horse in the race who initially did very well but later fizzled out like most of the establishment’s schemes.

The establishment learnt from this failed experiment and went back to the drawing board and came up with Tahirul Qadri. Tahirul Qadri, already having played a pawn multiple times in the establishment’s miscalculated moves, jumped right back on the horse and rode in promising to change the system. But as is the case with most of the establishment’s experiments, he came, he saw and he backed off from what he said.

So one side to this fight is these guys, but why are they doing this?

The answer to that is actually very simple but not very commonly discussed.

What the establishment is after is something dubbed as the ‘Bangladesh formula’. For years, our army and their army have been messing around in politics without much success. No matter how many times they took over, they were always kicked out eventually and in this process they ended up earning a bad name. But about four years ago, the Bangladeshi army finally cracked the code to solve this complicated riddle. The play was that the army does not get involved; instead a caretaker government needs to be formed that would include all branches of the state including judiciary and the military.

This way the army would get a seat on the table, but it would not be the bad guy as the caretaker government would make it a ‘joint effort’. And just to make things more ‘legitimate’, smaller insignificant parties would be invited to become part of the caretaker setup. That would then decide the rules for elections which would be delayed from their actual date as the new structures being designed just happen to take about two years to complete.

Continue reading Tahirul Qadri, the Bhutto boy, and the establishment’s last play

GOVERNOR OF PUNJAB’S APPOINTMENT- A joint encounter of PML-F & PML-N

Nawab Ali RahooBy: Nawab Ali Rahoo, Hyderabad, Sindh

Recent move initiated by PPP led by President Zardari of appointing Makhdom Syed Ahmed Mehmood as Governor of Punjab Province is a multi purpose stroke jointly addressing the PML-F & PML-N both the parties. PML-F led by Pir Sahib Pagaro has recently conducted a mammoth public gathering in Hyderabad, Sindh which has lucidly placed PML-F as an emerging substitute to PPP in Sindh. The reputation & political strength of said party is increasing in leaps & bounds. People from all walks of life are joining PML-F. Since the day PPP- MQM coalition introduced SPLGO in Sindh Assembly, PML- F along with a few opposed it dynamically. This shift of PML-F from government batches to opposition was not only admired by the masses but was warmly welcomed also. Seeing this popular acceptance by the people of Sindh Pir Sahib gathered all nationalists & the parties who were against it instead of reviving previous alliance with PPP and vowed to fight with government till the withdrawal of Dual local Government Bill. PPP has tried a lot to settle the matters with PML-F but could not resolve.

As the momentum of criticizing PPP govt: in general & the Dual local Govt: Bill in particular is high. In this context a recent massive public gathering was organized by PML-F at Hyderabad on 14th of instant .Surprisingly to know that there a personality appeared as vehement & stiff critic of PPP that was nothing else but upcoming Governor Syed Ahmed Mehmood, who informed the audience that he, was coming directly from London chiefly to attend this public gathering. The said public gathering of PML-F caused PPP leadership restless. As Makhdom A. Mehmood was President of Punjab PML-F and is said to be relative of the former Prime Minister Yousif Raza Gilani as well as of Pir Sahib Pagara.

With in seven days (decision /consent of the incumbent reported on 21st of instant) of time the cards of game got quietly changed. The breeze of lust & power swept all affiliations and promises shortly made. The sources disclosed that despite refusal of Pir Pagaro for not attaining the post offered, Makhdom Mehmood was inclined to be the Governor calling it the wish of his father thus Pir Sahib demanded resignation which was tendered by him instantly.

Continue reading GOVERNOR OF PUNJAB’S APPOINTMENT- A joint encounter of PML-F & PML-N

Sindh nationalist parties to observe Nov 30 as ‘black day’

By Hassan Siddiqui

Karachi: The nationalist parties of Sindh have announced to observe PPP’s formation day (November 30) as ‘black day’ and lodge protest during the president’s address in Sindh Assembly.

Awami National Party, Functional League and opposition parties have agreed to support the protest. Moreover, chief PML-N, Nawaz Sharif has phoned Chairman Sindh Bachayo Committee (Safe Sindh Committee), Jalal Mehmood Shah and assured him of complete support on the issue.

The protest of nationalist parties seems to be against the controversial local government ordinance in the province.

Courtesy: The News Tribe

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/11/26/sindh-nationalist-parties-to-observe-nov-30-as-black-day/

Petition Challenging SPLGA – Support from North American Sindhis

By: Khalid Hashmani

I have read the article of adi Sarah Zaman a couple of times but I still do not see any argument against the legal challenge except that the Supreme Court may give a decision of rejecting the argument of Barrister Ghumro and that it will weaken the case of Sindh against SPLGA. The argument made is also that this legal challenge will weaken Nawaz Sharif and strengthen MQM. My view is that if we Sindhis are afraid of even challenging a violation of our rights in Pakistan’s supreme court, how are we going to file the case of Sindhi rights at the International Court and the UN? Do we expect Nawaz Sharif to guarantee Sindh rights?

Whether or not Nawaz Sharif wins the next election should not digress us from taking the actions that we believe are in the larger interest of Sindh. At best, Nawaz Sharif can guarantee us the same deal that he gave us when he won the election last time and became Prime Minister and imposed his Chief Minister on Sindh just as the PPP did it. It would be a grave mistake if Sindhis assumed that any political leader would help resolve this issue for them. The civil society has to take it upon itself to beat the crisis. It does not matter who the winner of election is. Sindhis will keep losing until they are able to get up on their own to safeguard their interests. We simply cannot afford any more to depend that a political party that is popular in Punjab to protect Sindh rights.

In objecting to the Barrister Ghumro’s legal petition, adi Sarah Zaman raises the following seven (7) questions: 1. Was the decision to file a petition by Barrister Ghumro approved by the Sindh Bachayo Committee? 2. Is the legal petition in the interest of Sindhis? 3. Does the Sindh Bachayo Committee agree with the main argument of the Barrister Ghumro’s petition? 4. Is this not an action to protect MQM and hurt Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League? 5. Is the present government in Islamabad doing what one would say the “back foot playing” game to push back Nawaz Sharif? 6. Can Sindh afford to bear the loss if the Supreme Court gives the decision that is not acceptable by Sindhis? 7. Were the intellectuals, writers, and poets consulted on the filing of the legal petition and were they in agreement?

Other than pointing out another legal point, adi Zaman has neither analyzed nor provided any answers to the questions raised by her. On the legal point, if I am reading correctly, she says “Since the (SPLGA) Ordinance was sent on October 11th in the form of a ‘Bill’ to the Governor of Sindh for his approval. That bill, according to newspaper reports was signed by the Governor and sent to Ministry of law on 18th October. For this reason the petition can be nullified. The attorney of Barrister sahib should have waited when the representative of Sindh would have come on November 8th”. Frankly I cannot make head and tail of this argument and would appreciate anyone to clarify as to what adi Zaman means by this argument?

I am in 100% agreement adi Zaman’s advice to Sindh intellectuals and leaders that it is their duty to awaken the people and not to mislead Sindhis in taking the steps that would lead them to further misery.

She also says that Barrister Ghumro has taken 180 degrees turn from what he said before on the issue of SPLGA and his action of filing petition. I have tried to researched this alleged “turn about” by Barrister Ghumro but cannot find any evidence. Once again, I would appreciate anyone to clarify as to what adi Zaman means by this allegation?

Another point that adi Zama makes is that Sindhis in London decided to focus on awakening people in Sindh instead of demonstrating in front of 10 Downing Street and shouting “Balle Balle..” or going to international forums and courts. First of all, Sindhis never shout “Balle, Balle…”, second, to the best of my recollection WSC held an impressive demonstration against SPLGA in London and many SANA GTA Chapter members gathered to tell Canadian authorities about how SPLGA violated human rights of Sindhis.

I am very much concerned about the campaign against one of the most active champion of Sindh Rights Barrister Ghumro. He has fought for Sindhi Rights in many innovative ways and has been source of most intelligent and thoroughly researched legal advice to Sindhis. I would trust him any day more than any urban or rural wadero or any political party in Pakistan. I abhor any attempts to create rift among Sindh’s intellectuals, poets, and writers. I believe that we should talk to every one and any one but please do not insist that Sindhis refrain from adapting an independent line of action and get on the bandwagon of Nawaz Sharif, Pir Pagaro, Altaf Hussain, Imran Khan, or Asif Zardari. This would hurt Sindhis both in the long term and short term.

Our intellectuals, poets, and writers had been in slumber for quite sometime and now that they are wakening and activating themselves, it will be a unforgivable crime to create a rift among them so that one or other political party wins the next elections in Pakistan. In the long run, only Sindh’s intellectuals, poets, writers, and other civil society will keep the candle of Sindhiat alive and help Sindhis to defeat SPLGA just like they defeated “one unit”.

Continue reading Petition Challenging SPLGA – Support from North American Sindhis

We are billionaires, let Pakistanis suffer! Ishaq Dar sons..

We are billionaires, let Pakistanis suffer!

By Ahmed Tamjid Aijazi

Dubai: HDS Tower in Cluster F of Jumeirah Lakes Tower is only one of the 34 story buildings that belong to the mighty HDS Group. The News Tribe learnt that several other buildings in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Business Bay and International City, like the HDS Sunstar Towers, are also owned by the millionaire brothers, surprisingly Pakistanis.

The uniqueness of the car rental company lies in its array of niche car manufacturers and models of cars unavailable to the market. HDS Rent a Car owns the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, Mercedes Benz SLS 63 AMG Gullwing, apart from the more economy cars such as Peugeots and Renaults. Some of the many exotic, luxury and SUVs in the lineup are the the Ferrari Berlinetta F12 and the McLaren F1, and you can do the numbers yourself!

The owners from a ‘poor and starving’ country Pakistan, where the average monthly income for an individual is $41, are offering such exotic services in Dubai, which even the local Emiratis fail to afford.

Sources further told The News Tribe that the story does not end here; another Finance Minister from the Nawaz Sharif Government, made hundreds of real estate transactions with Madhu Bhindari, an Indian billionaire entrepreneur, who is on a run-away from Dubai, after losing 150 million dirhams in the 2008 crisis. However, the finance minister’s buildings and investments are still there, earning a hefty income.

A Pakistani real estate agent, who claimed to carry out transactions for a serving government officer in Sindh Government, told The News Tribe that a lot of Pakistani bureaucrats and politicians have properties worth millions in Dubai.

“The son of a serving government officer from Sindh government invested a huge amount of money in real estate here in 2008, and I carried out transactions for him,” the agent claimed.

“Where are these politicians getting the money from?” asked a frustrated Pakistani in Dubai, who came to know that the building he lived in is owned by Ali and Hasnain Dar’s HDS Group.

“If they have billions of dollars and so much money, why is it not in Pakistan? These politicians talk about the welfare of Pakistani people, but all they can think about is themselves!”

Previously, Director Swiss Bank had stated that Pakistan has around 97 billion dollars only in Swiss Banks. But, it seems that Pakistani politicians and businessmen have more than 97 billion dollars outside Swiss Banks, invested in various countries and financial hubs like Dubai.

According to the Swiss Bank director, if the money is utilized for the welfare of Pakistan and its people, then Pakistan can make tax free budget for next 30 years, can create 60 million jobs, can carpet four lanes road from any village to Islamabad, provide endless power supply, every citizen can earn Rs. 20,000 salary for the next 60 years and there is no need to take loans from IMF or World Bank.

Courtesy: The News Tribe

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/08/11/we-are-billionaires-let-pakistanis-suffer/#.UEVIKpZXljs

ANALYSIS : For whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait now? – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Merit is a word made completely irrelevant by the successive regimes ruling the province for several years

The Minister of Petroleum informed the National Assembly that out of 1,584 positions filled in the oil and gas public sector, only 10 had gone to Sindh. Does the news bother anyone? And does another report that only two officers from rural Sindh have been hired out of 448 positions filled during the last three years in the same ministry perturb anyone of the 180 million conscientious people living in Pakistan? Considering Sindh produces around 70 percent of the total gas and oil in the country and the majority of sites are situated in Sindh, how this is justified is anyone’s guess. Why should it bother the majority? It is happening to Sindhis. So be it. When it happened to Bengalis, we did not care. Why should we now?

About 10 years ago, during the first Nawaz Sharif term, my friend Shah, son of the legendary Sindhi poet, Ustad Bukhari, was in Islamabad. Like the multitudes of Sindhi youth roaming the streets of Karachi and Islamabad looking for the men in the assemblies to help them find a source for subsistence, Shah too, having earned his engineering degree, was in Islamabad searching for a job. One day, he was lucky to have secured a pass to enter the National Assembly. Waiting in the lobby looking for someone to beg for a job, he spotted one of the most powerful ministers of the time. Shah rushed to the minister and handing the minister his application, he made his submission. The minister sensed from his accent where he could be from, asked him if he was a Sindhi. Shah replied affirmatively. At which the minister shoved the application back into Shah’s hands and walked away saying, “Then to get a job you should wait for the ‘Peepul Party’ to come to power.”

The ‘Peepul Party’(Pakistan People’s Party) has been in power twice since. The party is in power today and so is the minister, ironically. The minister in the above story is none other than Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Chaudhry Sahib may not remember the incident, but Shah does very well and so do all his friends, including me, to whom he related the episode. As jobless and helpless now as during Mr Sharif’s two terms, whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait for now to get jobs?

Continue reading ANALYSIS : For whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait now? – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Outcome of Multan by-elections and establishment’s next move – by Shaheryar Ali

According to news reports, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Abdul Qadir Gilani has won the NA-151 Multan by-elections with 64,628 votes (19 July 2012). Independent candidate Shaukat Hayat Bosan, who was supported by all right wing parties including PML-N, PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, Sipah-e-Sahaba etc lost the elections with 60,532 votes, according to unofficial results.

This is a big set back, not only to Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N and Imran Khan-led PTI but to the almighty military establishment in the grand scheme of things.

Despite every effort of Shahbaz Sharif and Punjab Police, Abdul Qadir Gilani defeated the candidate supported by every political party of right wing, media, army and judiciary. That’s the power of PPP. It can take on all thugs together and defeat them!

The judges should “pity the nation” and resign if there is any thing called “morality” left in them.

Wounded by the loss of bye-election in Multan (NA-151), it won’t be wrong to assumed that Pakistan’s military establishment is now looking forward to reincarnate the anti-PPP alliance PNA of 1977 or IJI of 1990s!

I am sure we will soon see the revolutionary PTI joining hands with PML-N. There is no other way they (Pakistan army) will let the election take place. Five years of constant, uninterrupted, unilateral media trial of PPP plus its governance failures fail to shake its mass support to the extent that candidate enjoying support of Punjab government, all right wing, militant sectarian organizations, and also Election Commission of Pakistan, which by banning cadidate sponsered transport tried to inflict the fatal blow to PPP whose base lies in rural areas and in poor people, failed to win.

This makes the establishment very uncomfortable. They will now try to repeat the 1977 scenerio. Pan right alliance and then a movement against alleged election rigging (under evil Zardari), today Rana Sanaullah of PMLN-ASWJ already started laying the ground work by saying “huge responsibility lies on Justice Fakhruddin G. Ibhahim, only “words” are not enough for “fair” elections”, no one should think that “we will accept “any results” given to us”. It is interesting to note that Justice Ibrahim is PML-N’s nomination not PPP’s.

Courtesy: Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP)

Partymen caution Nawaz against blindly supporting judiciary

By Zia Khan

ISLAMABAD: Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have begun to advise party chief Nawaz Sharif against blind support for judicial activism.

The main opposition party has sided with the higher judiciary in the standoff between the government and the apex court, which has begun to reach a crucial point once again – however, recent developments have led to a reconsideration among the PML-N’s hierarchy.

PML-N insiders told The Express Tribune that several central party leaders had cautioned Nawaz to be calculated in his backing for the judiciary, warning of a slippery slope. “A significant number of people in the party feel the judiciary in its decisions recently, and [Chief Justice] Iftikhar Chaudhry in his statements, have crossed certain red lines. This is not a good omen for the democratic system,” said an official. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Getting priorities straight – By Saroop Ijaz

Suppose for a moment that the Constitution of Pakistan is unanimously amended by the Parliament and an article is inserted saying, “from here on in all military takeovers/coups are declared illegal and treasonous and no court of law shall legitimise such a takeover…”. High-minded as it would be, one needs to be fantastically gullible or hopelessly optimistic to believe that mere tinkering with some legal provisions is all that is required for uninterrupted democratic governance. This may seem odd to you coming from someone who makes his sustenance on legalese but law is not really all that it is made out to be and especially not what our media would lead (or perhaps, like) you to believe. Firstly, a military coup is by definition extra-constitutional (or to quote the Supreme Court from the past meta/supra-constitutional) and hence, it will be merely another clause violated and on most occasions, the khakis are not overly concerned about constitutional nuance anyways. Secondly, the courts would read such an article as creatively as they desire since interpretation is, admittedly, their prerogative. However, the hypothetical article would serve some purpose insofar as it will make it more embarrassing for the courts and maybe even for the military adventurers, although they are generally immune from such petty sensibilities.

Continue reading Getting priorities straight – By Saroop Ijaz